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Welcome to my snarky corner of the web. Join me as I discuss everything from wine to chocolate. There may be a few other topics mixed in there too. I talk a bunch about my amazing offspring, 19 and 17. I sometimes go on and on about my secret crush on the amazing Mike Rowe. I talk about things that irritate me or things that make me happy. Sometimes I just talk to hear myself talk. Feedback is always appreciated but please make sure it's respectable. No nudity or profanity. I'm the only one allowed to be profane. But any and all snark is welcome and appreciated!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Am the Sandwich Generation

One month ago, I had never even heard the term 'sandwich generation'. Now I'm living it. If you're unfamiliar with the term, you're not alone. But I'm a fast learner so now I'm hip to the term. Basically it means you have children you're caring for AND parents you're caring for.


I've talked before about my Mom's battle with COPD, a battle that she's slowly losing. But just over a month ago, she fell and broke her left humerus. Snapped it like a twig when she was walking into the bathroom in the lobby of her building. After a 4 day stay in the hospital, they moved her to a rehabilitation facility where she stayed for exactly 20 days (the maximum amount of time that Medicare would cover).

After 17's high school graduation we had a bit of a reprieve from schedules and running here and there. 17 is working now, mastering the art of the perfect DQ Blizzard and getting mentally prepared for life as a college student. 15 has been enjoying sleeping in and not being responsible for much other than her daily 'to-do' list. My focus hasn't been so much concentrated on parenting my teenagers as much as it's been caring for my own Mother. It's a scary proposition for me. I thank God daily that I've got good kids. They are responsible, well-mannered and usually trouble-free (unless you count the daily school bus drama but we're not talking about that right now). They are at a very self-sufficient age which has allowed me the freedom to concentrate on my Mother's healing.

I spent all last week with her, setting up appointments,  scheduling home healthcare workers, physical therapists, doctors and nurses, running errands, picking up prescriptions, doing her laundry and preparing her meals. I jumped into the sandwich generation with both feet. I am the meat in that sandwich. And it scares me to death. I ached to be away from my girls for so long but it was something I wanted and needed to do, to care for my Mother.

I cannot begin to imagine how this would all play out if my kids were delinquents. But I am blessed that they aren't. I learned parenting from a fantastic teacher, one who needs me now more than my own children need me. And now that I am home, 4 hours away from my Mother, I ache to be with her. My heart hurts to be so far away from her. Our twice-a-day calls will need to be enough for now. I constantly remind her to check the schedule we've written up so she knows which home healthcare worker will be coming in, or what time the physical therapist will come. I remind her to make sure she has her bag on the doorknob for Meals on Wheels delivery. And I worry.

I worry that she's alone in the apartment all weekend long. She is no longer capable of using her walker because of the broken arm. Once it's healed up, she will be able to walk down to the mailbox for her mail. But with a broken arm, she cannot push the walker, and the walker holds her oxygen tank, and without the oxygen there is no breathing for her. She uses a cane to get around her apartment.

I can't remember having so much fear. When I had my babies, I feared that I'd fail, but I didn't. I succeeded and still continue to succeed as a parent. I am blessed. But the paralyzing fear that my Mom isn't safe, it's something I never knew I'd have and it's an awful feeling. I pray that she'll eventually want to come to live either with us or closer to us. That door is always open to her, and I hope she changes her mind, and I hope it doesn't take something drastic like, God forbid, another fall to make her change her mind. 

Until then, the twice-a-day phone calls will have to suffice, and the prayers continue for her safety.

15 comments:

  1. I was about to say, if you could get her closer to you... That's rough stuff. I watched my mom go through something very similar with her parents, my grandparents. I am NOT looking forward to joining the sandwich generation, but I'll do so if/when it's required.

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    1. You'll find the strength, I'm sure of it.

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  2. My mum has COPD too. Up until last year she lived very close to us. Now she lives 4 hours away from us near to my sister. It drives me insane that she's so far away. I understand why she moved, it's just that I miss not seeing her everyday. I hope you're mom gets better from her fall soon xo

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    1. Tessa I feel your pain and I'll keep your mom in my thoughts and prayers.

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  3. I'm a sandwich person, too, although I'd never heard the phrase before. My brother, 5 hours away, is the restaurant critic. He calls me every once in awhile to see what's going on with my mom, offers his viewpoint of her care, then goes back to his life. My mom was diagnosed with COPD a couple of months ago (non-smoker, possibly caused by asthma as a child). The insurance company refuses to cover the two inhalers the pulmonologist prescribed and which will cost $500 a month out of pocket. She has samples to use for now. I'm bracing myself to call the insurance company (I would rather stick a needle in my eye than make a phone call) and start fighting for her to get her medicine covered.
    Hang in there, sister!

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    1. Dealing with insurance is a nightmare. Thoughts and prayers for your mom.

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  4. My mother just suddenly passed away recently so I will never know the sandwich phenomenon. I'm thankful and I'm not - complicated feelings here. You're lucky that your kids are both good and old enough to take care of themselves. I'd hate imagine what it's like for people with young children going through this. I hope that you manage to move your mother a little closer to you; it would ease your anxiety greatly. Take care!

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  5. It's funny the terms that they come up with to describe things isn't it?
    Makes the job you do sound way less impressive than it is.
    I for one am in awe of you for being able to find the mental strength to be able to cope with this sort of situation.
    I'm not sure I'd be able to do the same in your position. You rock Teri :)

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  6. My heart goes out to you. When my Mom needed me, I was blessed enough to have just moved a five minute walk away. I can't even imagine what four hours would have been like.
    The fact that you're there like you are? Tells me all I need to know about you, and it's all good.

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  7. Sorry to hear this about your mom. Stay strong.

    My gal's dad just passed away on Fathers Day. It was rough. He went through similar to what your mom is going through. It's hard to watch but just be there for her as much as you can.

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  8. Welcome to the sandwich generation. It's a tough spot to be in but I have found many supporters. I too am a fellow blogger & my message is for sandwichers to prioritize their own health while caring for others. Look forward to staying connected!

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  9. Great piece Teri! I love reading about generational stuff. It's always fascinating to me.

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I do read all comments and try to respond to them. Unless you're trying to get me to visit your website: Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags. Then you can go pound sand.